MENTAL health and suicide prevention charity PIPS have opened up a new outreach clinic on Donegall Pass, expanding their services to South Belfast.

The new PIPS office (Public Initiative for Prevention of Suicide and self-harm) will be based in the CRI building (Cromac Regeneration Initiative) at 165 Donegall Pass near the junction with the Ormeau Road.

Counselling and befriending services will be offered during initial opening hours of Monday, 10am to 2pm and Tuesday, 5pm to 8pm.

Local businessman John Palmer helped secure initial funding to kick-start PIPS which is entirely voluntarily funded.

“I always knew about PIPS on the Antrim Road but some sort of service was badly needed after a number of recent deaths in the Strand, Market and Donegall Pass areas.

“Myself and a few friends decided to do some fundraising events, including a sponsored cycle to Malin Head and back, which raised £6,500 to give this place a fighting start.”

PIPS manager Gerry O’Reilly said expanding to South Belfast was a response to demand for the group’s services.

“We’re delighted to extend our services to South Belfast,” he said. “We noticed many people were attending our Antrim Road building from this part of the city.”